09 August, 2009

Edward II's Tomb





Some pics of Edward II's tomb and effigy at Gloucester Cathedral! His funeral took place here on 20 December 1327.

















Completely random Edward II fact: it's well-known that he was born in Caernarfon, North Wales, on 25 April 1284, but I only realised the other day that Edward I and Queen Eleanor spent the entire period from June to August 1283 in North Wales. So Edward wasn't just born there, he was conceived there too.

Some info about the tomb can be found here. The pic on the right was taken from the other side of the tomb, and the one below shows the lion Edward's feet (or rather, foot - the left one is missing) are resting on.



Just ten miles down the road from Gloucester, the tomb of Hugh Despenser the Younger (with the fire extinguisher next to it!) still exists at Tewkesbury Abbey. Edward and his last great favourite still lie close together in death after nearly 700 years.







Below: Hugh's eldest son Hugh, Lord Despenser (c. 1308-1349), and grandson Edward, Lord Despenser (1336-1375), the famous Kneeling Knight of Tewkesbury. Hugh the Even Younger lies next to his wife Elizabeth Montacute, daughter of the earl of Salisbury.

21 comments:

Susan Higginbotham said...

Love the pictures! And it's good to know that Hugh has the fire extinguisher handy in case anyone needs it.

Judy said...

These are great pictures - even though I shall never get a chance to see the tombs in person, I feel a clear sense of how they appear - the beauty of photography per se, I suppose. Thank you

Alianore said...

Thank you, Susan and Judy! I'm glad you like the pics.

Lady D. said...

That was a great day we had in those two places, before the long drive to London! It was fantastic to share Hugh and Ed's tombs with you.

And you know something... I hadn't noticed the fire extinguisher before!

Christy K Robinson said...

Behind Ed II's tomb is a stained-glass window of Ed III commissioning the tomb of his father. Do you know if the glass is really as old as that, or if it's Victorian or relatively contemporary? It's posted here: http://family.webshots.com/photo/2761865960084119722oSmIRq
I'm guessing it's less than 200 years old. Interesting, though.

Gabriele C. said...

That's a pretty tomb Edward got. :)

Marie Burton said...

Wow, Alianore! I live this post & the pics. Thank you for sharing!

Satima Flavell said...

Many thanks for another lot of lovely pics, Alianore! You and Gabriele between you could set up shop!

Alianore said...

Lady D: it really was a great day with lots of happy memories for me!

Christy: afraid I don't know anything about the window offhand - will try to find out.

Gabriele: it's one of the great treasures of medieval England, and my darling totally deserves it. :-)

Marie: thank you, and glad you liked the post!

Satima: thank you! Gabriele and I seem to be doing pretty well picture-wise, don't we - and I'm visiting North Wales in a few weeks and will have lots more pics to put up then.

Ashmodai said...

Lovely!
I have to go there!
Oooh, the angels at his head!

Poor Hugh...it's a shame....put away that fire exstinguisher. ;)

Alianore said...

Ashmodai: I really hope you get to go to Gloucester some day soon! The angels at Edward's head are gorgeous, aren't they, and I especially love the toes. :)
Great new pic of you, by the way!

Gabriele C. said...

You really get around this year, don't you? *is just a wee bit green*

We can compare Caernarfon pics then, because I'm sure you're not going to miss that one. Which reminds me I should put up those of Edward's assumed birth chamber - dammit, so many posts to write, so little time. ;)

Alianore said...

Gabriele: yes, I'm doing pretty well this year, though there are loads of other places I'd love to visit too, if I had the time and the money...

Nope, nothing short of death could keep me away from Caernarfon at the end of September. :) Looking forward to your pics!

Steven Till said...

Does Edward II's tomb attract a lot of visitors? Just wondering how he compares to other Englsh kings in terms of tourism.

Clement of the Glen said...

Breathtaking tomb!

Do we know if the face was based on his likeness or was it simply a standard medieval image of a king?

Alianore said...

Steven: according to its website, Gloucester Cathedral gets about 375,000 visitors a year, though I don't know how many of them visit specifically to see Ed's tomb.

Clement: I'd really love to know how life-like the effigy is, but it's impossible to say. Other portrayals of Ed, in manuscripts and a sculpture in Winchelsea church etc, do show a man of the same physical type. This blog post shows the sculpture of Ed at Winchelsea (scroll down; it's about the 12th pic): http://wardsan.travellerspoint.com/142/

Carla said...

It's nice to see the tombs at Tewkesbury having just read Hugh and Bess. Thanks for the photos!

Christy K Robinson said...

I collect photos of ancestral effigies. (See my blog header, www.rootingforancestors.blogspot.com)Say a prayer for Edward II when you see his tomb. That was the point of the effigy!

Realism in depicting the deceased came in a big way during the reign of Edward III and Philippa, but earlier than that, in royal personages, there was an attempt at realism in the facial features of the tomb effigy, while the body and clothing were idealized as the powerful warrior, the pious and charitable, or the literate and intellectual. I like the sweetness of the clasped hands of Katherine Mortimer and Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick.

In non-royal effigies, I’ve read (somewhere) that effigies were roughed out by masons at a quarry, then finished and “personalized” to order. Most effigies bear no resemblance to the deceased, but are depicted in clothing or armor as their surviving spouse or heirs honor and remember them. Most of the women look like they’re in their 20s (and might have been if they died in childbirth), and the men in their 40s. The effigies I’ve found are now bare stone, but many of them would have been richly painted in blue, red, and gold. The ones of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, in France, have been restored to colorful glory.

I have HALF a blog post written on this subject, but no time to dust it off, as I'm driving away for the weekend today.

Alianore said...

Carla: yes, I've just realised that was good timing on my part, given Susan's current blog tour for Hugh and Bess!

Thanks for all the great info, Christy. Really looking forward to your blog post - can you let me know when you've had time to finish it? Have a lovely weekend away.

Chris Klein said...

Hi Kathryn -

Great pics, hope to get there someday myself. Maybe this a newbie-to-Ed II question, but if Ed II was not actually murdered and in fact escaped to live another day, (your post on the Oddities in the Narrative as well as Ian Mortimer's writings are quite compelling), who, if anyone, is actually buried in Ed II's tomb? It seems the evidence you and Ian have uncovered (or at least brought to light) certainly suggests Ed II did not die on that day, and for whatever reason chose to keep his identity concealed, but that would mean the funeral and resulting entombment was a sham. I would believe (simply because it would make sense to perpetuate the sham) that a body was buried - it certainly would not be too hard at that time to procure a victim.

Anyway, I apologize if this is a question addressed in other places and I just haven't gotten there yet!

BTW, as a big Robert the Bruce fan (and the reason I found your addicting blog!), the notion that somehow Robert the Bruce could have been involved in helping Ed II escape to live a new life in another country just boggles my mind. OK, OK, yes, yes, I know, I'm a chemist and I freely admit that pure supposition on my part because I want something to be true hardly constitutes 'evidence', but still...

Robert gazed fondly at Edward, as Edward struggled to speak, his voice breaking, overwhelmed with emotion. "Robert, I could never have imagined, after everything, that you would turn out to be my one true friend, I don't know how I could every repay you..." Robert reached out and the two collapsed into an embrace, Edward sobbing softly. Robert softly spoke, "You just take care of yourself, Edward, I will be back to see you soon." Robert broke his grasp, stepped back and stared into Edward's eyes. "Until then, 'William'", he whispered, winked with a smile, and turned to walk out of the door.

Fade to black...

So I started with a serious question and ended with a really bad Hollywood scene, so I apologize!

Any thoughts as to the question, or can you direct me where it might have been previously discussed?

Thanks!

Kathryn Warner said...

Hi Chris! I love the scene ;) I'm not sure if I've ever discussed whether Edward is actually in his tomb or not here, hmmm. Ian Mortimer believes he was taken there after dying in Italy, i the early 1340s. There's a monastery in Italy called Sant'Alberto di Butrio which claims that an empty tomb there was where Edward was buried. Their website has an entire section on Edward: http://www.eremosantalbertodibutrio.it/index.php?lang=en